Stay safe on canals and rivers this summer urges Canal & River Trust
Hot weather this summer could tempt families to take a dip in their local river or canal. But the Canal & River Trust has put out a plea to avoid this and stay safe. Unfortunately last year 30 people drowned during the seven week school summer holiday, when the weather was particularly hot and people were tempted to swim in unsafe places.
The Trust cares for around 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales, and they are very keen for people to enjoy walking and boating along these watery retreats during the school summer holidays. The charity estimated that 13 million people took a trip to their local waterway last year.
Dangers of cooling off in rivers and canals
Tony Stammers, head of health and safety at the Canal & River Trust says: “Canals and rivers are brilliant places to go to on hot days, and excellent for families to explore during the holidays. I’d encourage anyone to make a visit this summer. But it’s also important that people, especially children, are aware of the dangers of cooling off by going for a dip in the wrong place. We always urge parents to make sure their children know how to stay safe.
“In particular, inland waters such as canals, rivers and reservoirs may look inviting on a hot summer’s day, but any open body of water can pose a hazard, as the water can often be extremely cold and can bring on cramps in even the strongest swimmers and there may be hidden objects lurking beneath the surface.”
Each year around 400 people drown in the UK, with the highest number of deaths recorded in the country’s inland waterways according to the Royal Life Saving Society UK, the drowning prevention charity, with children, young adults and people under the influence of alcohol among the highest risk groups.
The Canal & River Trust ‘Explorers’ programme focuses on children in Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum, and aims to help young people learn about and enjoy their local canal or river safely and can also be used towards a number of Cub Scout and Brownie badges.
Dozens of volunteers nationwide help the Trust each year by going into schools and speaking to youth groups about their local canal or river. If you’d like to see the free resources available or if you’re interested in helping the Trust educate young people about their local canal or river, visit www.canalriverexplorers.org.uk
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